The great tragedy of the fake news that we see so much of in the mainstream media these days is that it is a holdover from the (seemingly neverending) 2016 election. Channels like CNN and MSNBC and newspapers like The New York Times saw such tremendous success during that time period – when everyone and their brother was actually engaged in politics – that they decided to keep playing the same game long after the election was over. That not only includes printing every controversial tidbit they can find and televising a special every time Trump coughs, but also, more damagingly, means continuing the biased war against the president that they’ve been waging since the summer of 2015.
Unfortunately, it isn’t just the investigative journalists, reporters, and talking heads who failed to learn the lessons of 2016; remarkably, many pollsters have failed as well. We say remarkably because the Election Day 2016 was a major embarrassment to the entire polling industry. You had to search high and low to find a poll that predicted a Trump victory…or even one that made it seem as though the Republican billionaire had a snowball’s chance in hell of defeating Hillary Clinton.
You would think, after that monumental failure, every pollster in the country would be changing the way they did business. It was not to be the case. Thus we have to take with a colossal grain of salt all of these predictions pollsters are making when it comes to the midterms and the Democrats’ ability to regain control of the House of Representatives. Especially because we have some pollsters – those who HAVE learned the lessons of 2016’s mistakes – saying that it’s not a guaranteed outcome by any means.
Among them is Anthony Salvanto, the head pollster over at CBS News. The New York Post ran a fascinating interview with Salvanto this weekend, and he shed some light on the way good pollsters have changed it up since the 2016 debacle. Salvanto told the Post that the days of viewing an election as a static horserace were over – you now had to look at each campaign as its own dynamic force that could change in a heartbeat. And you could better get the pulse of that heartbeat with tracking polls, which – even at this late date – few major media companies are using to their best advantage.
“In 2016, a lot of us assumed we knew what would happen in Michigan and Wisconsin,” Salvanto told The Post. “It was a great lesson for us pollsters: Even if you think you know what will happen, poll it if you can.”
Of the midterms, Salvanto says that the country could go either way.
“Right now I think this election looks like a toss-up,” Salvanto said. “We see a Democrat pickup in the House of Representatives in the 20-odd seat range, but Republicans could certainly hold on to the House. Even though Republicans have not fared well in special elections so far this cycle, it does look like they will be turning out for the midterms. So far we do not see a large number of Republicans saying they will flip and vote for a Democrat.”
If Republicans do pull out the victory and maintain control of the House – even in a squeaker – it will be yet another embarrassment for the mainstream liberal media and the polling companies they rely on. We’d assume that THIS would finally convince them to shift gears, but it seems these newspapers and networks would rather die than change.
And ultimately, they will get their preference.